Faroe Islands: Anger over killing of 1,400 dolphins in one day

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BBC News 14 September, 2021 - 02:43pm 65 views

Where are the Faroe Islands?

The Faroe Islands are made up of the 18 rocky islands about halfway between Scotland and Iceland. ABC NewsSlaughter of dolphins on Faroe Islands sparks debate over hunting traditions

The pod of white-sided dolphins was driven into the largest fjord in the North Atlantic territory on Sunday.

Boats herded them into shallow waters at Skalabotnur beach in Eysturoy, where they were killed with knives.

The carcases were pulled ashore and distributed to locals for consumption.

Footage of the hunt shows dolphins thrashing around in waters turned red with blood as hundreds of people watch on from the beach.

Known as the grind (or Grindadrap in Faroese), the hunting of sea mammals - primarily whales - is a tradition that has been practised for hundreds of years on the remote Faroe Islands.

The Faroese government says about 600 pilot whales are caught every year on average. White-sided dolphins are caught in lower numbers, such as 35 in 2020 and 10 in 2019.

Supporters say whaling is a sustainable way of gathering food from nature and an important part of their cultural identity. Animal rights activists have long disagreed, deeming the slaughter cruel and unnecessary.

Sunday's hunt was no different, as international conservation groups rounded on the hunters to condemn the killing.

But the scale of the killing at Skalabotnur beach has shocked many locals and even drawn criticism from groups involved in the practice.

Bjarni Mikkelsen, a marine biologist from the Faroe Islands, put the reported death toll into perspective.

He said records showed that this was the largest number of dolphins ever killed on one day in the Faroe Islands, a autonomous territory of Denmark.

He said the previous record was 1,200 in 1940. The next-largest catches were 900 in 1879, 856 in 1873, and 854 in 1938, Mr Mikkelsen said.

On Sunday night a super-pod of 1428 Atlantic White-Sided Dolphins was driven for many hours and for around 45 km by speed boats and jet-skis into the shallow water at Skálabotnur beach in the Danish Faroe Islands, where every single one of them was killed. https://t.co/uo2fAPhCDq

In an interview with the BBC, the chairman of the Faroese Whalers Association, Olavur Sjurdarberg, acknowledged that killing was excessive.

Why were that many dolphins killed, then?

"It was a big mistake," said Mr Sjurdarberg, who did not participate in the hunt. "When the pod was found, they estimated it to be only 200 dolphins."

Only when the killing process started did they find out the true size of the pod, he said.

"Somebody should have known better," he said. "Most people are in shock about what happened."

Even so, according to Mr Sjurdarberg, the catch was approved by the local authorities and no laws were broken.

Such hunts are regulated in the Faroe Islands. They are non-commercial and are organised on a community level, often spontaneously when someone spots a pod of the mammals.

To take part, hunters must have an official training certificate that qualifies them to kill the animals.

Killing white-sided dolphins is "legal but it's not popular", said Sjurdur Skaale, a Danish MP for the Faroe Islands.

He visited Skalabotnur beach to speak to locals on Monday. "People were furious," he said.

Still, he defended the hunt, which he said was "humane" if done in the right way.

That involves a specially designed lance, which is used to cut the spinal cord of the whale or dolphin before the neck is cut.

Using this method, it should take "less than a second to kill a whale", Mr Skaale said.

"From an animal welfare point of view, it's a good way of killing meat - far better than keeping cows and pigs imprisoned," he said.

Campaign group Sea Shepherd has disputed this, arguing that "the killing of the dolphins and pilot whales is rarely as quick as Faroese government" makes out.

"Grindadrap hunts can turn into drawn-out, often disorganised massacres," the group says.

"The pilot whales and dolphins can be killed over long periods in front of their relatives while beached on sand, rocks or just struggling in shallow water."

Surveys suggest that most people are opposed to the mass slaughter of dolphins in the Faroe Islands.

On Sunday, the national reaction was "one of bewilderment and shock because of the extraordinarily big number", said Trondur Olsen, a journalist for Faroese public broadcaster Kringvarp Foroya.

"We did a quick poll yesterday asking whether we should continue to kill these dolphins. Just over 50% said no, and just over 30% said yes," he said.

In contrast, he said, a separate poll suggested that 80% said they wanted to continue with the killing of pilot whales.

The polls provide a snapshot of public opinion towards the killing of sea mammals.

Criticism of the Faroese hunt has ebbed and flowed over the years. The hunt is brought to wider attention from time to time, as it was by the popular Seaspiracy documentary on Netflix earlier this year.

This time, though, locals say the reaction - especially within the whaling community - has been unusually damning.

"There's been a lot of international attention. My suspicion is that people are bracing themselves for a big backlash," Olsen said.

"This is a good time for campaigners to put even more pressure on. It will be different this time because the numbers are very big."

Gavin Newsom appears to have survived a rare state-wide vote to remove him with a clear majority.

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Read full article at BBC News

Over 1,400 dolphins killed in Faroe Islands hunt

Yahoo Lifestyle 14 September, 2021 - 05:17pm

The U.S.-based NGO said the slaughter of 1428 Atlantic white-sided dolphins is considered to be the largest single hunt of cetaceans ever recorded worldwide.

The annual dolphin drive, when several hundred pilot whales are slaughtered for their meat and blubber, is part of a 1,000-year-old tradition in the North Atlantic archipelago.

This year the number of mammals slaughtered prompted an outcry from animal rights groups for the excessive killing, producing "more dolphin meat from this hunt than anyone wants to take," Sea Shepherds said in a press release.

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The slaughter of 1,428 white-sided dolphins over the weekend, part of a four-century-old traditional drive of sea mammals into shallow water where they are killed for their meat and blubber, has reignited a debate on the small Faeroe Islands.

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The slaughter of 1,428 white-sided dolphins over the weekend, part of a four-century-old traditional drive of sea mammals into shallow water where they are killed for their meat and blubber, has reignited a debate on the small Faeroe Islands. The hunt in the North Atlantic islands is not commercial and is authorized, but environmental activists claim it is cruel.

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Over 1,400 dolphins killed in Faroe Islands hunt

Euronews 14 September, 2021 - 05:17pm

The U.S.-based NGO said the slaughter of 1428 Atlantic white-sided dolphins is considered to be the largest single hunt of cetaceans ever recorded worldwide.

The annual dolphin drive, when several hundred pilot whales are slaughtered for their meat and blubber, is part of a 1,000-year-old tradition in the North Atlantic archipelago.

This year the number of mammals slaughtered prompted an outcry from animal rights groups for the excessive killing, producing "more dolphin meat from this hunt than anyone wants to take," Sea Shepherds said in a press release.

A woman told authorities she performed sexual acts on a hospital employee in Fort Worth out of fear.

The slaughter of 1,428 white-sided dolphins over the weekend, part of a four-century-old traditional drive of sea mammals into shallow water where they are killed for their meat and blubber, has reignited a debate on the small Faeroe Islands.

The former president also hinted to Newsmax host Sean Spicer that he may run for the presidency in 2024.

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Over 1,400 dolphins killed in Faroe Islands hunt

WION 14 September, 2021 - 05:17pm

The U.S.-based NGO said the slaughter of 1428 Atlantic white-sided dolphins is considered to be the largest single hunt of cetaceans ever recorded worldwide.

The annual dolphin drive, when several hundred pilot whales are slaughtered for their meat and blubber, is part of a 1,000-year-old tradition in the North Atlantic archipelago.

This year the number of mammals slaughtered prompted an outcry from animal rights groups for the excessive killing, producing "more dolphin meat from this hunt than anyone wants to take," Sea Shepherds said in a press release.

A woman told authorities she performed sexual acts on a hospital employee in Fort Worth out of fear.

The slaughter of 1,428 white-sided dolphins over the weekend, part of a four-century-old traditional drive of sea mammals into shallow water where they are killed for their meat and blubber, has reignited a debate on the small Faeroe Islands.

The former president also hinted to Newsmax host Sean Spicer that he may run for the presidency in 2024.

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The pair was arrested Tuesday on a criminal complaint from the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

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Slaughter of over 1,000 dolphins on Faeroe Island sparks debate on traditions

Fox 59 14 September, 2021 - 02:50pm

In this image released by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society the carcasses of dead white-sided dolphins lay on a beach after being pulled from the blood-stained water on the island of Eysturoy which is part of the Faeroe Islands Sunday Sept. 12, 2021. The dolphins were part of a slaughter of 1,428 white-sided dolphins that is part of a four-century-old traditional drive of sea mammals into shallow water where they are killed for their meat and blubber. The hunt in the North Atlantic islands is not commercial and is authorized, but environmental activists claim it is cruel. (Sea Shepherd via AP)

The hunt in the North Atlantic islands is not commercial and is authorized, but environmental activists claim it is cruel. Even people in the Faeroes who defend the traditional practice worry that this year’s hunt will draw unwanted attention because it was far larger than previous ones and seemingly took place without the usual organization.

Heri Petersen, the foreman of a group that drives pilot whales toward shore on the central Faeroese island of Eysturoy, where the killings took place Sunday, said he was not told about the dolphin drive and “strongly dissociated” himself from it.

He told the news outlet in.fo. that there were too many dolphins and too few people on the beach to slaughter them.

Islanders usually kill up to 1,000 sea mammals annually, according to data kept by the Faeroe Islands. Last year, that included only 35 white-sided dolphins.

Olavur Sjurdarberg, chairman of the Faeroese Pilot Whale Hunt Association, feared Sunday’s slaughter would revive the discussion about the sea mammal drives and put a negative spin on the ancient tradition of the 18 rocky islands located halfway between Scotland and Iceland. They are semi-independent and part of the Danish realm.

“We need to keep in mind that we are not alone on earth. On the contrary, the world has become much smaller today, with everyone walking around with a camera in their pocket,” Sjurdarberg told local broadcaster KVF. “This is a fabulous treat for those who want us (to look bad) when it comes to pilot whale catching.”

Faeroese Fishery Minister Jacob Vestergaard told local radio station Kringvarp Foeroya that everything was done by the book in the dolphin hunt.

For years, the Seattle-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been opposing the sea mammal drives that date from the late 16th century. On Facebook, the organization described the weekend’s events as “an illegal hunt.”

The white-side dolphins and pilot whales are not endangered species.

Each year, islanders drive herds of the mammals — chiefly pilot whales — into shallow waters, where they are stabbed to death. A blow-hole hook is used to secure the beached whales and their spine and main artery leading to the brain are severed with knives. The drives are regulated by laws and the meat and blubber are shared on a community basis.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trademark and Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Faroe Islands: Anger over killing of 1,400 dolphins in one day

The Washington Post 14 September, 2021 - 02:43pm

The pod of white-sided dolphins was driven into the largest fjord in the North Atlantic territory on Sunday.

Boats herded them into shallow waters at Skalabotnur beach in Eysturoy, where they were killed with knives.

The carcases were pulled ashore and distributed to locals for consumption.

Footage of the hunt shows dolphins thrashing around in waters turned red with blood as hundreds of people watch on from the beach.

Known as the grind (or Grindadrap in Faroese), the hunting of sea mammals - primarily whales - is a tradition that has been practised for hundreds of years on the remote Faroe Islands.

The Faroese government says about 600 pilot whales are caught every year on average. White-sided dolphins are caught in lower numbers, such as 35 in 2020 and 10 in 2019.

Supporters say whaling is a sustainable way of gathering food from nature and an important part of their cultural identity. Animal rights activists have long disagreed, deeming the slaughter cruel and unnecessary.

Sunday's hunt was no different, as international conservation groups rounded on the hunters to condemn the killing.

But the scale of the killing at Skalabotnur beach has shocked many locals and even drawn criticism from groups involved in the practice.

Bjarni Mikkelsen, a marine biologist from the Faroe Islands, put the reported death toll into perspective.

He said records showed that this was the largest number of dolphins ever killed on one day in the Faroe Islands, a autonomous territory of Denmark.

He said the previous record was 1,200 in 1940. The next-largest catches were 900 in 1879, 856 in 1873, and 854 in 1938, Mr Mikkelsen said.

On Sunday night a super-pod of 1428 Atlantic White-Sided Dolphins was driven for many hours and for around 45 km by speed boats and jet-skis into the shallow water at Skálabotnur beach in the Danish Faroe Islands, where every single one of them was killed. https://t.co/uo2fAPhCDq

In an interview with the BBC, the chairman of the Faroese Whalers Association, Olavur Sjurdarberg, acknowledged that killing was excessive.

Why were that many dolphins killed, then?

"It was a big mistake," said Mr Sjurdarberg, who did not participate in the hunt. "When the pod was found, they estimated it to be only 200 dolphins."

Only when the killing process started did they find out the true size of the pod, he said.

"Somebody should have known better," he said. "Most people are in shock about what happened."

Even so, according to Mr Sjurdarberg, the catch was approved by the local authorities and no laws were broken.

Such hunts are regulated in the Faroe Islands. They are non-commercial and are organised on a community level, often spontaneously when someone spots a pod of the mammals.

To take part, hunters must have an official training certificate that qualifies them to kill the animals.

Killing white-sided dolphins is "legal but it's not popular", said Sjurdur Skaale, a Danish MP for the Faroe Islands.

He visited Skalabotnur beach to speak to locals on Monday. "People were furious," he said.

Still, he defended the hunt, which he said was "humane" if done in the right way.

That involves a specially designed lance, which is used to cut the spinal cord of the whale or dolphin before the neck is cut.

Using this method, it should take "less than a second to kill a whale", Mr Skaale said.

"From an animal welfare point of view, it's a good way of killing meat - far better than keeping cows and pigs imprisoned," he said.

Campaign group Sea Shepherd has disputed this, arguing that "the killing of the dolphins and pilot whales is rarely as quick as Faroese government" makes out.

"Grindadrap hunts can turn into drawn-out, often disorganised massacres," the group says.

"The pilot whales and dolphins can be killed over long periods in front of their relatives while beached on sand, rocks or just struggling in shallow water."

Surveys suggest that most people are opposed to the mass slaughter of dolphins in the Faroe Islands.

On Sunday, the national reaction was "one of bewilderment and shock because of the extraordinarily big number", said Trondur Olsen, a journalist for Faroese public broadcaster Kringvarp Foroya.

"We did a quick poll yesterday asking whether we should continue to kill these dolphins. Just over 50% said no, and just over 30% said yes," he said.

In contrast, he said, a separate poll suggested that 80% said they wanted to continue with the killing of pilot whales.

The polls provide a snapshot of public opinion towards the killing of sea mammals.

Criticism of the Faroese hunt has ebbed and flowed over the years. The hunt is brought to wider attention from time to time, as it was by the popular Seaspiracy documentary on Netflix earlier this year.

This time, though, locals say the reaction - especially within the whaling community - has been unusually damning.

"There's been a lot of international attention. My suspicion is that people are bracing themselves for a big backlash," Olsen said.

"This is a good time for campaigners to put even more pressure on. It will be different this time because the numbers are very big."

Gavin Newsom appears to have survived a rare state-wide vote to remove him with a clear majority.

15 sayings from around the world

Horrific footage shows 1,500 dolphins slaughtered in largest massacre ever recorded

Newsweek 14 September, 2021 - 10:33am

The massacre is believed to be the largest single hunt of cetaceans—a group comprising whales, dolphins and porpoises—ever recorded worldwide, marine conservation and activist group Sea Shepherd told Newsweek.

The hunt, known locally as the "grindadráp," saw whalers target a massive pod of white-sided dolphins, herding the animals into Danish waters where they were cornered and brutally stabbed to death.

Under Faroese law, the hunt—a long-lasting tradition in the region—is deemed legal, although many dispute the practice as unsustainable slaughter and unnecessary suffering.

A total of 1,428 dolphins were killed in "the largest ever single hunt of dolphins or pilot whales in Faroese history" and possibly the "largest single hunt of cetaceans ever recorded worldwide," Sea Shepherd U.K. Ambassador Helen Taylor told Newsweek.

"To get a sense of scale - this massacre at Skálabotnur approaches the quota for the entire 6-month dolphin killing/capture at Taiji in Japan - and actually exceeds the numbers killed in any recent years of the Japanese 6 month dolphin killing/capture season," Taylor added. "For such a hunt to take place in 2021 in a very wealthy island community just 230 miles from the UK with no need or use for such a vast quantity of contaminated meat is outrageous."

Blue Planet Society, a group campaigning to end the overexploitation of the world's ocean, described the massacre as a "population level slaughter."

"In sheer numbers it's comparable to the mass slaughter of the North American bison and we all know what happened then," volunteer John Hourston told Newsweek. "Denmark and the EU can't turn a blind eye to this one. We're talking about a population level slaughter, a massacre of a protected species," he added.

According to Norwegian Sea Shepherd volunteer and activist, Samuel Rostøl, the pod was driven over 45 kms to a beach by Skalabotnur where the beached dolphins were slaughtered for over one hour.

Rostøl shared graphic footage of the event with Newsweek. "You'll see dolphins who have been partially stabbed, bleeding to death while shivering in pain," he described. "You'll see dolphins not stunned, but cut open via their necks to bleed them out. Some of them get their spine severed, which renders them immobilized but not unconscious. You'll hear people laughing. You'll see kids playing. You'll see blood splashing as the dolphins fight for their lives. You'll see young dolphin calves dead on the beach."

See posts, photos and more on Facebook.

Piled up like trash and soon to be dumped. It's unlikely they will be able to process 1428 dolphins. This is comparable to the American bison. 📷via Paul Watson. @VSinkevicius @EU_ENV @denmarkdotdk pic.twitter.com/lXknZrPtCb

Rostøl said the hut traditionally began as a slaughter of pilot whales, and the dolphin hunts are a much younger practice. The Blue Planet Society said records of the hunts date back to 1584.

"This hunt was ill-prepared, with far too few people taking part in it, which prolonged the suffering of these animals who - for many of them - were simply stranded on the beach, unable to leave, for a long period - while their family members were slain around them," he explained.

Many justify the hunt as a cultural tradition and an example of "indigenous whaling" as the mammals were traditionally hunted as a food source for the local population.

However, activists question how many of the animals are actually sold for meat and how many are killed to maintain a vital supply of fish to support the highly lucrative fishing trade, noting the Faroe Islands has a population of just 53,000.

"The different kinds of dolphin-hunts on the Faroe Islands is no longer an important food source," Rostøl told Newsweek. Sea Shepherd ambassador Taylor agreed, adding the hunt occurred "towards the end of this summer when the Faroese have already killed 615 long-finned pilot whales and their freezers are already full."

Video footage shared by the activist groups shows the dolphins being herded towards their deaths as boats surround the terrified animals while they thrash helplessly against the spears and propellers of the boats.

The bloodshed caused the sea to turn red as dolphin carcasses washed to the shore and piled up on the sand.

"Piled up like trash and soon to be dumped," the Blue Planet Society wrote alongside one particularly gruesome image. "It's unlikely they will be able to process 1428 dolphins ... There is absolutely no excuse for a modern, wealthy country to be continuing with such archaic and barbaric animal cruelty in the 21st century."

The group is urging the EU, as well as the Danish authorities, to force the autonomous region to end the practice, which they described as "reckless, idiotic and irresponsible".

"Denmark and the EU need to start talking seriously with the Faroe government. If that fails then sanctions must be considered," Hourston said. "This blatant disregard for protected cetaceans cannot continue."

The Faroese Minister for Fisheries, Jacob Vestergaard, has not condemned Sunday's hunt which an increasingly vocal Faroese community is labelling cruel, archaic and barbaric.

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